Chris the sheep, world record-holder for heaviest wool after years of neglect, has died

When spotted by hikers in Australia, its wool weighed double its body weight. ‘He had been living a sad life of isolation, with only mobs of kangaroos as his company,’ an animal sanctuary says.

SHARE Chris the sheep, world record-holder for heaviest wool after years of neglect, has died
Chris, the record-breaking Merino that tugged at animal lovers’ hearts with its heavy coat, has died, an Australian animal sanctuary says. 

Chris, the record-breaking Merino that tugged at animal lovers’ hearts, has died. Chris is seen here where it was found at Mulligans Flat in northern Canberra in 2015.

RSPCA, EPA

Chris, the record-breaking sheep who tugged at animal lovers’ hearts with his heavy coat, has died, an Australian animal sanctuary says.

Chris the sheep — a Merino that was rescued in 2015 after being spotted alone in the wild — set the record for the world’s heaviest fleece sheared from a sheep, carrying about 90 pounds of wool at the time.

”This is no title to covet, as it amounts to being the most neglected sheep in the world,” according to the Little Oak Sanctuary, which cared for the sheep after its rescue.

The animal sanctuary said Chris died Tuesday and was nearly 10 years old. 

”He will live on in our memories, but his presence will be missed by both his sheep and human friends who loved him,” a Little Oak announcement said on its website. “Chris teaches us that we are all more than what happens to us.”

The sanctuary described Chris as a miracle sheep, one that probably should not have survived. When it was spotted by hikers in Canberra, Chris’ wool weighed double its body weight.

”He had been living a sad life of isolation, with only mobs of kangaroos as his company for an amazing period of five years,” according to Little Oak, which says sheep bred specifically for their wool, like Merinos, can’t shed and produce wool year-round.

Shearing sheep helps the animal’s health, keeping it cool in summer heat and protecting it against flies and ”wool-blindness,” damage caused to its eyesight from its wool having grown too long.

Chris the sheep.

Chris the sheep.

Little Oak Sanctuary

According to the National Museum of Australia, Chris had only weeks to live when found. Its mobility had been severely hampered by the heavy coat.

It was unclear how Chris got loose, and no one ever was able to prove ownership, the museum says.

Once Chris was brought in for shearing, the process took more than 40 minutes. The next year, when Chris had a healthier coat of just 13 pounds, it took only six minutes, according to Little Oak.

Despite the neglect for the first half of its life, Chris lived out its remaining days at Little Oak Sanctuary as “a gentle, character filled chap,” according to the sanctuary, which wrote: “His bleat was loud and deep, and instantly recognizable.”

Chris’ fleece is on display at the National Museum of Australia.

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